Large core in tomatoes


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I’ve been gardening for over 40 years and have always grown awesome tomatoes. Most of my gardening has been in the Okc area gardening in red clay. Almost 3 years ago we retired and moved to SE Okla. my soil here is sandy loam but on the sandy side. It’s pretty sorry. I’ve done a ton of composting for building my soil. My tomatoes have produced a huge crop and continue setting tomatoes even though it’s August. The problem I’m having is they have a huge hard core. I think it’s something lacking in my soil but I can’t figure it out. I fertilize my tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts every four weeks, I tablespoon pulverized egg shells every 4 weeks and a light dose of fish emulsion every 2-3 weeks. Also a drink of compost tea monthly. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
 
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Although I have no sensible answer to your question, I thought I would welcome you to the forum Al :)
 
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Well eggshells are not great. Sure they contain calcium, but break down so slowly as to be insufficient, in many cases.
Composted chicken manure pellets break down much quicker & contain approx. 6% calcium, and I dose the growing medium prior to transplanting, as I find the nitrogen levels are lowering just when I want the potash to kick in.
The core of the tomato is the last to ripen, & this leads me to think that improper ripening is the cause, due to a deficiency, namely potassium (potash), which is associated with the ripening of fruit. Your feeding regime also hints at this.
Since you seem to be using organic measures (y) my suggestions are seaweed extract, comfrey tea or, not quite as good, but more widespreadly available, nettle tea.

I echo the welcome.
 
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Well eggshells are not great. Sure they contain calcium, but break down so slowly as to be insufficient, in many cases.
Composted chicken manure pellets break down much quicker & contain approx. 6% calcium, and I dose the growing medium prior to transplanting, as I find the nitrogen levels are lowering just when I want the potash to kick in.
The core of the tomato is the last to ripen, & this leads me to think that improper ripening is the cause, due to a deficiency, namely potassium (potash), which is associated with the ripening of fruit. Your feeding regime also hints at this.
Since you seem to be using organic measures (y) my suggestions are seaweed extract, comfrey tea or, not quite as good, but more widespreadly available, nettle tea.

I echo the welcome.
Thanks for the reply. You may be correct about the potassium. I grind my egg shells to a fine powder much like flower so the calcium is available quicker than if they were crumbled up. I’m not hung up on organic but I won’t throw away something like egg shells that is good for the soil. Most of my egg shells go to the compost pile and yes it takes them forever to break down. All of our kitchen scraps other than meat and dairy go the the compost pile. In the morning when I water my tomatoes I will use Miracle Grow high in potassium. It can’t hurt unless I over do it. Most, not all, of my garden plants get a high nitrogen fertilizer at planting and 13-13-13 after that. Not sure if I mentioned it or not but we retired and moved to SE Okla. for over 40 years my garden was Oklahoma red clay. I hated that stuff but it grew great veggies. Now I have very sandy loam. Been gardening here 2 years with the same core issue. There I used Epson salt, powdered egg shells and fish emulsion with great results so of coarse I’ve done the same here. I’m sure it’s a nutrient my soul is lacking in. If potassium is what is lacking that will be an easy fix. I have 81 tomato plants with hundreds of tomatoes from fruit that has just set to those that are ripening dailey. Thanks for the recommendation. If that is the cause I should know in 4-5 weeks. I will let you know.
 
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" If that is the cause I should know in 4-5 weeks. I will let you know. "

I am not a fan of petro-fertilisers.

Do, please. Especially if I am wrong.
 
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